Gorgeous doesn’t even begin to describe this course: stunning, breathtaking, peaceful & amazing! Wow… and we love Oregon!
Summer races are tough to come by—there are so few because of the temperatures. Revel announced the inaugural Mount Hood Marathon earlier in the year, and I instantly became tempted, but also terrified…since I injured myself from doing a drastic downhill at Revel in Big Cottonwood Canyon two years ago in Utah. I pulled my hamstring pretty badly (a small tear, we think)! Anyway, it took me a while to heal from that and I have avoided drastic drops since. What I liked about this race is that the elevation started at 5,620 (not 9,696 like Big Cottonwood), and the drop grade was less, at 6%. I was ready for the challenge!
We arrived in Portland separately as a family. Reilly and Nish flew out from PHL and I flew out of NYC. I had a busy travel week leading up to the race. I went to LA and back for work, and flew back to Portland for the race. Cross country three times in four days…yikes. I was tired and unfortunatley, so delayed on my journey back west, my head didn’t hit the pillow at 4:00 a.m. ET. Our time in Portland was so short, so we made the best of it! Nish planned all his coffee and beer stops, and my goal was simple, get my bib and get myself to the starting line at Timberline Lodge. We took the streetcar to the expo to pick up my stuff, and wouldn’t ya know, we learned the Oregon Brewers Festival was the same weekend (no wonder all the hotels were sold out). Nish was in heaven! 🍺 ☕
As much as I possibly could, I have been preparing for this race in strength training (since I don’t have a mountain near me to free-fall from)! I paid for the rountrip bus from downtown Portland ($50). I had visions of sleeping on the 1:45 hour drive from Portland. I’m thinking for that price, ‘motocoach.’ Nope. Not so much! It was a school bus. 🙄 It was so uncomfortable. The bus loaded at 2:30 a.m. on Friday night (you can’t even call it Saturday morning), for our journey to the top of Mount Hood. I didn’t realize it was that far! The race start was four waves. The first wave started at 5:00 a.m. PST—I was in wave 2 starting at 5:30 a.m. Perfect!
My goals were simple:
- Don’t tear anything;
- Try to come in under 4:45; and
- Try not to walk at all.
Total elevation loss was 4,924 feet with an elevation gain of 166 feet, and it was a dreamy 62 degrees the entire race! I accomplished only one of those goals. I didn’t tear anything or get injured. I tried to come in under 4:45, and held a great pace until mile 17, but my legs became so demolished from the pounding, my calves were twitching and my quads had separate heartbeats. Ha ha. I did my first half in about 2:09, so I knew there was hope, but with my trembling legs at mile 20, I knew I was done. There was no way I could run anymore. From mile 17 to 22, I did a walk/run, but once I hit mile 22, everything in my legs were done. They were so cramped and begging for mercy. In my 63 marathons, my legs have NEVER…EVER felt this way. I knew I was screwed. The views from the course were so beautiful and I was in great spirits, so I didn’t get too down on my time. I knew by mile 24 that I wasn’t going to be able to walk after the race (of which I cannot), so I decided that I am really okay with my finish time. I am just so happy I’m not injured!
We enjoyed the rest of the day in Portland on Saturday. We ended up at the Portland Brewer’s Festival, and wouldn’t ya know, Tracy Moziak from my home town of Baldwinsville (who lives in San Diego), was visiting Portland the same weekend and sitting at the table next to us at the Festival?! Small world! Neither of us live in Portland (clearly), and of the thousands of people at the Festival, we sat at tables next to each other! It was such a nice surprise moment!
The aftermath of the 4,758 elevation drop is that I cannot really walk today. Nish and Reilly have been hoisting me up and helping me down. I took an ice bath after the race, but my legs give out when I walk. I’ll need a day or two and might even need the cart guy to take me to my gate at the airport! ha ha. Work travel should be fun on Monday morning! Wish me luck!
We will be back, Portland…we will be back!